HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday that his office has received more than 5,000 complaints from Pennsylvanians reporting price hikes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Attorney General said his office has followed up on every verifiable tip -- issuing 466 cease and desist letters, issuing subpoenas to 200 targets for further investigation, and finding 27 businesses where the Attorney General’s office believed actual price gouging occurred.
“We won’t tolerate illegal price gouging during this emergency, and we’re taking action every day to stop it," Shapiro said in a press release. "Nearly a third of Pennsylvanians are out of work and figuring out how to put food on the table. Gouging the prices of basic necessities to help keep us safe from the pandemic—face masks, hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol—is outrageous and illegal.
“If you see suspicious price increases on goods, I encourage you to email firstname.lastname@example.org and fill out a complaint form so we can put a stop to price gouging.”
Governor Tom Wolf’s declaration triggered protections under state law against price gouging for consumers and businesses, Shapiro said. Under rules governing a disaster emergency, companies and vendors are prohibited from charging a price for consumer goods or services that exceeds 20 percent of the average price at which those goods or services were sold for in the seven days preceding March 6, 2020.
Any instance of price gouging should be reported to email@example.com